November 21, 2017

Nancy Andrus | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Educators

Nancy Andrus

CURRENT POSITION

Youth Services Librarian, Sunnyvale Public Library, CA

DEGREE

MLIS, San José State University, CA 2008

FOLLOW

sunnyvalemakeher.wordpress.com

Photo by Rob Pannoni

Make-HER Maven

“Nancy is fearless about trying out new ideas and teaching herself new skills,” says Susan Kaplan, who supervises Andrus, a youth services librarian at the Sunnyvale Public Library, CA. Andrus noticed that, while popular, youth STEM/STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, and math]–based programming in the library was primarily attracting boys. “When we ran a coding camp, the 20 spots quickly filled with 17 boys and three girls, and the girls dropped out,” Andrus recalls. “I wanted to help level the playing field by creating an environment in which girls could thrive, feel empowered, and be inspired to pursue STEM.” After winning a competitive grant from the Pacific Library Partnership, Andrus developed the Make-HER program, workshops aimed at girls eight to 12, plus their mothers or other adult women. That’s “a period during which studies show girls begin to lose interest and confidence in STEM pursuits,” says Kaplan.

Make-HER workshops are run by women instructors and include projects such as pop-up paper circuitry, light-up Harry Potter wands, wearable technology, and a Mars habitat design challenge coming in May. “I’m not a STEM expert by any stretch,” says Andrus, “but I believe my role as a librarian is to set a clear direction and then build the best vehicle I can to help…the Make-HER program [be] successful.” Meanwhile, the Make-HER website, which she designed, has received more than 14,000 views from 41 countries. Says Andrus, “The idea that what we’re doing here has not only made a difference for our girls but now is serving as an inspiration for other libraries is beyond what I’d ever imagined.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Susan Denniston says:

    Congratulations, Nancy! You have really made a difference in the lives of girls and their parents in Sunnyvale! Keep up the positive work!

  2. Lisa Rosenblum says:

    Well deserved Nancy. I am so proud to have worked with you!
    Lisa Rosenblum

  3. Nari Ferderer says:

    Congratulations Nancy! What a wonderful program.